This Taco Lasagna recipe couldn’t be easier! It’s made with oven ready lasagna noodles, seasoned taco ground beef, salsa and cheese! It’s perfect for weekend meal prep and freezer friendly.
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How are you guys doing? Are you hanging in there?
With Thanksgiving, Halloween, game day parties, school pick up and drop off and extra curricular activities… plus Christmas looming… sometimes it just feels like you don’t have a moment to breathe.
This is the time of year when having a solid freezer stash saves my butt, and this Taco Lasagna recipe is a new make-aheadable obsession that I’m adding to my list.
I know it’s a little untraditional.
There’s no gingerbread or cranberries or peppermint candy canes anywhere in sight.
But I know that the majority of you are eating more than candy canes and Pot of Gold chocolates on a daily basis, and this here is about Real Life.
Thankfully, with all the craziness, my kiddos are collapsing into bed in record time, which leaves me a couple of hours in the evening to prep some meals for the week that I can pull out and simply pop in the oven, or bring to any of the holiday parties or potlucks happening that weekend.
This Taco Lasagna comes together quickly, with the help of oven ready lasagna noodles, some jarred salsa and shredded cheese.
There’s no boiling required, which means that I get to feed the family a healthy, homemade meal and still have a little time for myself at the end of the night.
How to make Taco Lasagna:
- This lasagna is made up of layers of oven ready lasagne noodles, taco ground beef, seasoned tomato sauce and salsa, and cheese.
- The hardest part is browning the ground beef and waiting for the veggies to cook, but other than that, this recipe comes together very quickly!
- When you’re layering your lasagna, it might be tempting to try to get 4 lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan. You can definitely go for it, but I’ve found that when using no boil lasagna noodles they expand considerably in the oven, filling a 9×13″ pan with just 3 across.
- For the tomato sauce, you really don’t want a heavily seasoned pasta or pizza sauce. You’re looking for a basic tomato sauce, essentially tomato puree with a couple basic seasonings. Look for a basic, no salt added can in your grocery store next to the pasta sauces or the canned tomatoes.
- It’s important to cover your lasagna for the first 40-45 minutes as it bakes so that the noodles will cook properly. Because we don’t want all the cheese to stick to the foil, you can either leave it off until you uncover the taco lasagna, or you can lightly grease your foil before covering. I recommend giving it a spray anyway just to be sure nothing sticks!
Variations of this Taco Lasagna recipe:
- Use chicken. You can easily swap the beef for chicken in this recipe to make a Chicken Taco Lasagna!
- Bump up the veggies. When browning the ground beef, you can easily bump up the veggie content by adding shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, finely chopped mushrooms, or really finely chopped or shredded veggies of all sorts. Once the meat is cooked down and smothered in all that sauce, no one is going to know all that goodness you snuck in there.
- Get spicy. Feel free to increase the spice factor if your family is game. You can swap out the cheese for some Monterey Jack with jalapeno, or add some chopped jalapenos to the beef when your browning it.
Tips for making ahead:
You can prepare this lasagna recipe ahead of time, up to the point of baking. Simply cover in plastic wrap, then add a lid or foil (I like to go double duty here to ensure it’s air tight), and refrigerate up to 3 days before baking.
If I’m refrigerating, I like to place the lasagna in the fridge to cool, and then top with the cheese and cover so it doesn’t melt down before it bakes. It’s not really a game changer, just my personal preference.
It’s important to add the water just before baking a refrigerated, unbaked lasagna , then cover with foil and bake. As the lasagna sits in the fridge, it tends to soak up some of the moisture. Adding water will ensure a tender, moist lasagna.
Alternatively, you can prepare and bake, then refrigerate. Simply pour ¼ cup water into the bottom of the pan around the edges (for the same reason as above!) cover with foil and reheat in a 250F oven until warmed through, 20-30 minutes.
How to freeze Taco Lasagna:
To freeze an unbaked taco lasagna, cover tightly in plastic wrap, then cover with the lid or tin foil (for the same reason as above — my Grandma always covered twice before freezing to keep from freezer burn and it’s something I still do!).
Pop it in the freezer with a note on how long and what temperature to bake: 350 degrees F, covered with foil, for 60-80 minutes. The time required will vary greatly depending on how solid your freezer freezes (they are all different!), your exact oven temperature (these are all different too!), and how well the baking dish conducts heat.
If your baking dish is not freezer-to-oven safe, remove the casserole from the freezer 1-2 hours before you wish to bake and let the pan warm slightly.
Alternatively, you can also prepare and bake completely, then cool, cover and freeze. Reheat, covered, at 350 degrees F, for 60-80 minutes or until heated through.
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- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 green pepper finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons low sodium taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups tomato sauce plain, no salt added (400ml)
- 1 3/4 cups mild chunky salsa (400ml) or hot
- 12 Catelli Express Lasagne Noodles
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup water
- sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, etc, for serving as desired
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, green pepper and onion until beef is browned and vegetables have softened (10-15 minutes).
- Add the taco seasoning, garlic and salt and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and salsa, and cook over medium-heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13″ pan. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan, then top with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with ¼ of the remaining sauce, and 1 cup of cheese.
- Repeat layers 3 more times for 4 layers total. End with remaining sauce and cheese on top.
- Just before baking, carefully pour ¼ cup water around the edges of the noodles in the pan (not on top of the cheese) — this will help to cook the noodles and keep the lasagna moist! Spray a piece of tin foil with non stick spray and place (spray side down) on the lasagna. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Uncover the lasagna and bake 8-10 more minutes, until thickened and bubbly and cheese has browned slightly. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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